52% of consumers eat specialised diets

Over half of Irish consumers now avoid certain ingredients in what they eat and drink due to dietary or health and wellness concerns according to new data from Nielsen.

Fifty-two percent of consumers today eat a diet that excludes or limits consumption of some foods or ingredients.

Antibiotics/hormones are the most common ingredients avoided (64%) followed by artificial additives such as flavours and preservatives (62%) and sugar sweeteners (59%). Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and genetically-modified organisms also feature in the five most avoided.

Health concerns
Over one in four (27%) households contain someone who suffers from food allergies or intolerances although this is much lower than the global average (36%). The most common ingredients avoided in Ireland for these reasons are eggs and lactose/diary (both 47%), poultry (30%), gluten (28%) and grains (25%).
Sales of ‘Free From’ products rose 23% in Ireland last year, based on data to 4th October 2015, making it a market worth €73 million according to Nielsen.

If it has continued at this rate over the past year, it would be worth nearly €90 million in the year to the end of last October, assuming all other factors remained equal.

“It’s one of the fastest-growing categories and consequently supermarkets are extending ranges,” notes Matt Clark, Nielsen’s Commercial Director in Ireland.

He goes on to point out four “macro-trends driving people to pay more attention to what they consume:

“People are adopting a more back-to-basics mindset” he explains, “focusing on simple ingredients and fewer processed foods; they’re also taking a more active role in their own health care which includes better nutrition, itself a reflection of the rising trend in chronic-disease rates. Finally, consumers are increasingly educated due to the internet providing access to more health information than could ever have been dreamed of in the past.”




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